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Buhari’s Executive Order 06 is not political witch-hunt, says Lai Mohammed


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MINISTER of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has defended President Muhammadu Buhari’s Executive Order number six, saying that it was not an act of political witch-hunt as is being alleged by some people, including members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Speaking on the topic: “Nigeria’s National Unity: Towards Participation and Shared Values”, at the Chatham House in London, Mohammed reiterated that the order was in line with the anti-corruption campaign of the present administration.

“The facts are very simple,” Mohammed said. “Sometimes in July, the President, in the exercise of his constitutional powers, signed the Executive Order 6 to strengthen the anti-corruption fight. In that order, the various corruption cases being investigated were listed and appendix.

“As soon as the Order was proclaimed, some people went to court to challenge it. Because of the pending case, the government suspended its implementation.

“But last week, the court ruled in favour of the government and the government said that it is time to start its implementation,” he said.

As part of the implementation of the executive order, presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, announced that Buhari had directed relevant government agencies to ensure that 50 “high profile” Nigerians facing corruption charges are not allowed to travel outside the country.

Also any property worth N50 million and above, that is subject to investigation of prosecution, should be temporarily forfeited to the government pending the determination of the investigations.

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Many social commentators, public affairs analysts, and legal practitioners said the president, by placing some people on a travel ban, over-reached his powers, and had usurped the powers of the judiciary, by denying the 50 affected citizens their fundamental human right to freedom of movement.

However, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, in an interview on Tuesday, agreed with the federal government that the executive order was necessary in the fight against corruption.

“I’ve heard that this is an anti-corruption measure, it’s not for me to say who should or should not be on the list. But what I would say is that it’s very important in continuing this fight against corruption and rooting out corruption where it is happening,” Arkwright said.

Meanwhile, two legal practitioners, Ikenga Ugochinyere and Keneth Udeze, have approached the Court of Appeal, seeking to set aside the judgement that upheld Buhari’s executive order.

The lawyers described the order and the travel ban that accompanied it, as “obnoxious, barbaric, capricious, arbitrary and the greatest assaults to the sacred institutions of constitutional governance”.

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